On the 17th of February INSME celebrated its 18th anniversary, but its history began in June 2000, on the occasion of the first OECD SME Ministerial conference on globalisation, whose delegates approved the “Bologna Charter on SME policies” and welcomed in this framework the proposal of the Italian Government to establish the International Network for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Eighteen years have passed since INSME was established in Rome in 2004 and while many things may have changed, “Local strength, global reach” is still the North Star that inspires the Network, that was conceived as a network of networks. Under this motto, the Association welcomed new members, strengthened the collaboration with the existing ones, reinforced its services and implemented new activities to spur innovation as a key for competitiveness and SMEs growth worldwide, in line with its new manifesto: “Making Innovation Happen in SMEs”.

While we celebrate our main milestones, we would also like to pay a tribute to the father of the INSME project, Luigi Corbo’, former Director General of the Italian Institute of Industrial Promotion (IPI). Luigi was the mind who inspired the launch of the whole initiative and supported the Association during its inception and start-up phase. Luigi passed away just a few months ago, but his brilliant ideas, including INSME, are still his legacy.


The International Network for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises – INSME is a legally recognized not-for-profit association working under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with a mission “to bring together at international level practitioners and researchers in the fields of innovation, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, which provide measures in support of SMEs.”

It provides training, technical assistance and capacity building initiatives worldwide, and offers a wide array of services helping its Members to better achieve their goals by taking advantage of cross border connections and collaborations.

Through the creation of public-private partnerships, INSME contributes to the promotion of a more fertile entrepreneurial ecosystem.

It is currently comprised of 99 Members from 4 continents distributed in 44 countries. It includes governmental bodies, international organizations, international NGOs, representatives of networks and intermediaries.